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Special Report

Molecular Science in the News

(For more information on the below articles, a subscription to the newspaper (and journal) may be required)

Friday April 18, 2014

  • Salmonella decline seen in food poisoning report: "The government's latest report card on food poisoning shows a dip in salmonella cases but an increase in illnesses from bacteria in raw shellfish. The report (MMWR) counts cases in only 10 states for some of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends..…" (Mike Stobbe, Associated Press)
  • To quash depression, some brain cells must push through the stress: "The nature of psychological resilience has, in recent years, been a subject of enormous interest to researchers, who have wondered how some people endure and even thrive under a certain amount of stress, and others crumble and fall prey to depression. The resulting research has underscored the importance of feeling socially connected and the value of psychotherapy to identify and exercise patterns of thought that protect against hopelessness and defeat. But what does psychological resilience look like inside our brains, at the cellular level? Such knowledge might help bolster peoples' immunity to depression and even treat people under chronic stress. And a new study published Thursday in Science..…" (Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times)
  • Cost of Treatment May Influence Doctors: "Saying they can no longer ignore the rising prices of health care, some of the most influential medical groups in the nation are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care. The shift, little noticed outside the medical establishment but already controversial inside it, suggests that doctors are starting to redefine their roles, from being concerned exclusively about individual patients to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent..…" (Andrew Pollack, New York Times)
  • Enrollments Exceed Obama’s Target for Health Care Act: "President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what the White House said were a sufficient number of young, healthy adults, a critical milestone that might counter election-year attacks by Republicans on the law’s success and viability...…" (Mark Landler and Michael D. Shear, New York Times)
  • Exclusive: Biogen prices hemophilia drug on par with older therapies: "Biogen Idec Inc is pricing its newly approved long-acting hemophilia drug, Alprolix, to cost U.S. patients, and insurers, about the same per year as older, less convenient therapies whose price can reach about $300,000 annually...…" (Bill Berkrot, Reuters)
  • Flavored cigars appeal to youth: study: "Young people are smoking fewer cigarettes these days, but their cigar use is rising, which may partly be due to the popularity of flavored cigars, according to a new study (Tobacco Control)...…" (Kathryn Doyle, Reuters)
  • USDA will require reporting of killer piglet virus PEDv: "In an expected move, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday announced new measures to combat the spread of disease in the U.S. pig population.The agency said it would require reporting of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has killed millions of piglets over the past year, and the Swine Delta Coronavirus..…" (Ros Krasny, Reuters)
  • Merck's ragweed pollen allergy drug gets U.S. approval: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Merck & Co's pollen allergy drug Ragwitek. The tablet, which is administered by placing it under the tongue, is to treat the short ragweed pollen induced allergic rhinitis..…" (Shailesh Kuber, Reuters)
  • Info may prompt seniors to taper off sleeping pills: "Older people are willing and able to get themselves off medications like sleeping pills once they're informed of the potential harms, according to a new Canadian study (JAMA Internal Medicine). "Even among patients who have been taking sleeping pills for 30 years, many of them in their 80s and 90s were able to get off the sleeping pills once they realized that these pills could cause..…" (Anne Harding, Reuters)
  • About 12 million U.S. outpatients misdiagnosed annually: study: "Roughly 12 million adults who visit U.S. doctors' offices and other outpatient settings, or one in 20, are misdiagnosed every year, a new study has found, and half of those errors could lead to serious harm. The study by a team of Texas-based researchers attempted to estimate how often diagnostic errors occur in outpatient settings such as doctors' offices and clinics, as exact figures don't exist. The team's study will be published this month in the British medical journal BMJ Quality & Safety..…" (Curtis Skinner, Reuters)
  • Childhood bullying can cause problems decades later: "Chances are some people still remember the name of that bully who stole their lunch money or pushed them down the stairs 30 years ago. While the psychological effects of bullying in adolescence are well documented, a new study published Thursday in The American Journal of Psychiatry shows harmful effects can extend decades after the initial bullying...…" (Mary Bowerman, USA Today)
  • FDA Advises Against Morcellator Use in Hysterectomies; Citing Cancer Risks, Overseer Discourages Use of Morcellators to Remove Uterine Growths: "Federal regulators advised doctors Thursday to stop using a surgical device used in tens of thousands of hysterectomies each year, citing its potential to spread cancer. The move by the Food and Drug Administration could change the way many women are treated for common but often painful growths in the uterus known as symptomatic fibroids, which..…" (Jon Kamp and Jennifer Levitz, Wall Street Journal)
  • Scientists Make First Embryo Clones From Adults: Advancement Could Lead to Treatment for Alzheimer's, Heart Disease: "Scientists for the first time have cloned cells from two adults to create early-stage embryos, and then derived tissue from those embryos that perfectly matched the DNA of the donors. The experiment represents another advance in the quest to make tissue in the laboratory that could treat a range of maladies, from heart attacks to Alzheimer's. The study, involving a 35-year-old man and one age 75, was published Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell..…" (Gautam Naik, Wall Street Journal)

Thursday April 17, 2014

  • Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain: "The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain - evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report (New England Journal of Medicine)…" (Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press)
  • Free samples of prescription drugs are costly to patients, study says: "Free samples of prescription drugs may seem like a great deal for patients. But even when doctors think they’re doing patients a favor by handing out the freebies, the real beneficiaries are the drug manufacturers, according to new research in the journal JAMA Dermatology…" (Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times)
  • For Diabetics, Health Risks Fall Sharply: "Federal researchers on Wednesday reported the first broad national picture of progress against some of the most devastating complications of diabetes, which affects millions of Americans, finding that rates of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations fell sharply over the past two decades. The biggest declines were in the rates of heart attacks and deaths from high blood sugar, which dropped by more than 60 percent from 1990 to 2010, the period studied. While researchers had had patchy indications that outcomes were improving for diabetic patients in recent years, the study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine…" (Sabrina Tavernise and Denise Grady, New York Times)
  • New kind of trial aims to speed cancer drug development: "Scientists and drugmakers are pioneering a new kind of clinical trial that changes the way cancer drugs are studied, potentially cutting both the time and cost of bringing them to market…" (Ben Hirschler, Reuters)
  • California makes it harder for insurers to deny autism treatment: "California on Wednesday made it harder for health insurers to deny or delay coverage of key interventions for children with autism, the latest in an ongoing series of actions by U.S. states to help families obtain the expensive therapies.…" (Sharon Bernstein, Reuters)
  • Reports of e-cigarette injury jump amid rising popularity, U.S. data show: "Complaints of injury linked to e-cigarettes, from burns and nicotine toxicity to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, have jumped over the past year as the devices become more popular, the most recent U.S. data show…" (Toni Clarke, Reuters)
  • Death toll from Guinea Ebola outbreak rises to 122: "The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in Guinea has risen to 122, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday, a sharp increase from a previous figure of 108…" (David Lewis, Reuters)
  • Dengue outbreak at Australian detention centre sparks fresh concerns: "An outbreak of dengue fever at an Australian refugee detention center in the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru sparked calls on Thursday for greater oversight at the facility, which has been criticized by rights groups and the United Nations…" (Matt Siegel, Reuters)
  • Pill developed to fight measles passes key test in animals: "Scientists have developed an experimental pill that helped protect ferrets from a measles-like virus, raising hope for a treatment to thwart the deadly infection in unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the virus, according to an international study (Science Translational Medicine)…" (Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters)
  • Kitchens could be sources of drug-resistant bacteria: "Cutting boards used to prepare raw poultry may be an important source of drug-resistant bacteria in hospital kitchens and private homes, according to a new study (Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology)…" (Kathryn Doyle, Reuters)
  • Ohio mumps outbreak grows: "The mumps outbreak in central Ohio now totals 225 cases, state health officials in Columbus reported late Tuesday…" (Michelle Healy, USA Today)
  • USA ranks far above Western allies in medical costs: " A new report shows that American medical procedures and medications continue to far out-cost those of other Western nations, even when comparing only private care…" (Kelly Kennedy, USA Today)

Wednesday April 16, 2014

  • Malaysia reports first Asian death from MERS virus: "A Malaysian man who went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia has become the first death in Asia from Middle East respiratory syndrome, while the Philippines has isolated a health worker who tested positive for the deadly coronavirus…" (Associated Press)
  • Increases in women’s BMI linked to fetal, infant deaths, study says: "As a woman’s body mass index rises before she is pregnant or early in pregnancy, there is an increased risk of fetal death, stillbirth or infant death, and severely obese women have the highest risk, researchers said Tuesday. But even “modest” increases in BMI were associated with increased risks, the scientists wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. The scientists recommend that…" (Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times)
  • PET Scans Offer Clues on Vegetative States: "People with severe brain injuries sometimes emerge from a coma awake but unresponsive, leaving families with painful questions. Are they aware? Can they think and feel? Do they have any chance of recovery? A new study (The Lancet) has found that PET scans may help.…" (Denise Grady, New York Times)
  • Nasal Spray Holds Hope in Fighting Flu Epidemic: "Scottish and American scientists have found a new way to prevent flu infections that could, in theory, be used to fight an epidemic long before a vaccine is ready. The method (PNAS), successfully tested only in mice thus far, is a nasal spray of engineered proteins that coat the receptors in the nose and throat to which…" (Donald McNeil, New York Times)
  • Census Survey Revisions Mask Health Law Effects: "The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.…" (Robert Pear, New York Times)
  • FDA OKs new generation Boston Scientific heart pacing devices: "U.S. health regulators have approved four Boston Scientific Corp implantable devices for heart patients, including a next generation of smaller defibrillators to treat abnormal heart rhythms, the company said on Tuesday.…" (Bill Berkrot, Reuters)
  • Bay Area Research Round-Up: THE BRAIN: Neurons found to aid myelin growth (Science Express); COGNITION: Sleep problems linked to decline in older men (Sleep); OVARIAN CANCER: Irregular menses tied to greater cancer risk (American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting); CANCER EVALUATION: Cheaper genetic testing can aid in treatment (Journal of Clinical Oncology); ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: Women at higher risk from genetic variant (Annals of Neurology); AGRICULTURAL WORKERS: Study finds illnesses, accidents underreported (Annals of Epidemiology);….(Erin Allday, Victoria Colliver, Stacy Finz, San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Number of uninsured in states embracing Obamacare drops significantly: "The number of uninsured people has dropped 2.5 percentage points in states fully embracing the Affordable Care Act, according to Gallup (Gallup Well-Being). 21 states, including the District of Columbia, have expanded Medicaid and set up their own health insurance marketplace, resulting in a significant decline in the number of uninsured people aged 18 and older. These states had an uninsured rate of 16.1 percent that dropped to 13.6 percent -- a 2.5 percentage point drop.…" (Ananth Baliga, United Press International)
  • Doctors, medical staff on drugs put patients at risk: "A USA TODAY review shows more than 100,000 doctors, nurses, medical technicians and health care aides are abusing or dependent on prescription drugs in a given year, putting patients at risk…" (Peter Eisler, USA Today)
  • Casual marijuana use linked to brain changes: "Using marijuana a few times a week is enough to physically alter critical brain structures, according to a new study published Tuesday in The Journal of Neuroscience..…" (Karen Weintraub, USA Today)

Tuesday April 15, 2014

  • England’s salt-reduction campaign saved lives: "A 15% reduction in salt consumption was likely “an important contributor” to a 40% reduction in stroke and heart disease deaths in the last decade in England, researchers said Monday. The “single largest” contribution to the decline in deaths was a decrease in blood pressure, they said. Smoking and blood cholesterol also declined over the period, 2003-11; produce consumption and body mass index rose. At the same time, there were improvements in treatment for high blood pressure and heart disease, they said in the online British Medical Journal Open…." (Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times)
  • It Pays to Pay Addicts to Get Vaccinations: "Paying heroin addicts the equivalent of $50 each to have a series of three injections in a month was very effective in getting them fully vaccinated against hepatitis B, a new British study (The Lancet) has found. Not only were the paid addicts far more likely to get all three shots, but 80 percent of them showed up for their appointments on time, the authors said.…" (Donald G. McNeil, New York Times)
  • Guinea says few new Ebola cases, outbreak nearly under control: "The number of deaths caused by Ebola has slowed dramatically in Guinea and the outbreak is nearly under control, the country's health ministry said on Tuesday. The spread of Ebola from a remote corner of Guinea to the capital and into neighboring Liberia has killed about 130 people and spread panic across West African nations struggling with weak healthcare systems and porous borders.…" (Saliou Samb, Reuters)
  • Ohio mumps outbreak rises to 212 cases, largely hits state university: "The number of cases of mumps in central Ohio in a rare outbreak has jumped to 212, from 116 early this month, mostly affecting students and others connected to The Ohio State University, public health officials said on Monday.…" (Eric M. Johnson, Reuters)
  • U.S. healthcare usage and spending resumes rise in 2013: report: "Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a report issued on Tuesday by a leading healthcare information company.…" (Bill Berkrot, Reuters)
  • Too much animal protein tied to higher diabetes risk: "People who eat the most protein, especially from animal sources, are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to a study (Diabetes Care) of European adults. The new study did not randomly assign participants to eat different amounts of protein, which would have yielded the strongest evidence. Instead, it compared.…" (Kathryn Doyle, Reuters)
  • Pregnant women who took antidepressants linked to higher autism risk in boys: "Boys, whose mothers took antidepressants such as Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft while pregnant, were almost three times more likely to have autism spectrum disorder. Rebecca A. Harrington and Li-Ching Lee of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Rosa M. Crum of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Dr. Andrew W. Zimmerman of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Irva Hertz-Picciotto of the University of California, Davis, said the study (Pediatrics) involved…." (JC Finley, United Press International)
  • Angry at your spouse? Check your blood sugar: "The next time you get annoyed at your spouse, you might want to grab something to eat. That's the take-home message from a new study that found marital hostility is at its highest when blood sugar is at its lowest. Spouses of both genders jabbed more pins into a voodoo doll on evenings when their blood sugar was the lowest, according to the new study, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…." (Karen Weintraub, USA Today)
  • Lung Disease Treatment Without Major Surgery: "Hospitals are testing new procedures to help patients with a devastating lung disease breathe easier without major surgery. More than 15 million people have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Millions more may be unaware they have it. The disease is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer…." (Laura Landro, Wall Street Journal)
  • Research Report: Early Hand Preference Tied to Language (Developmental Psychology); False Food Signals (Pain); Spacing Babies (American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology); Artery Disease Disparity (American Journal of Cardiology); Golf’s Eye Risk (Eye); Mulberry Leaves May Help Lower Blood Sugar (Journal of Functional Foods)…(Ann Lukits, Wall Street Journal)

Monday April 14, 2014

  • Study: Sneezes spread germs farther than we knew: That dainty handkerchief you use to cover up sneezes should be considered more of a fierce battle shield, after new research shows that sneezes release violent gas clouds with the ability to spread germs farther than previously expected. Coughs and sneezes release a cloud of invisible gas that extends the range of individual droplets released as much as 5 to 200 times, according to the study "Violent expiratory events: on coughing and sneezing," conducted by MIT researchers and published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics..…" (Vikki Ortiz Healy, Chicago Tribune)
  • Surge in Prescriptions for Opioid Painkillers for Pregnant Women: "Doctors are prescribing opioid painkillers to pregnant women in astonishing numbers, new research shows, despite the fact that risks to the developing fetus are largely unknown. Of 1.1 million pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid nationally, nearly 23 percent filled an opioid prescription in 2007, up from 18.5 percent in 2000, according to a study published last week in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the largest to date of opioid prescriptions among pregnant women.…" (Catherine Saint Louis, New York Times)
  • Suicide Prevention Sheds a Longstanding Taboo: Talking About Attempts: "The relationship had become intolerably abusive, and after a stinging phone call one night, it seemed there was only one way to end the pain. Enough wine and pills should do the job — and would have, except that paramedics barged through the door, alerted by her lover…. About a million American adults a year make a failed attempt at suicide, surveys suggest..…" (Benedict Carey, New York Times)
  • Medical devices for kids are often only tested on adults: "Most medical devices that have been recently approved for use in pediatrics weren't actually tested on kids first, according to a new study (Pediatrics). Almost all of the devices had only been tested on people age 18 and older, researchers found..…" (Kathryn Doyle, Reuters)
  • Japan confirms first bird flu case since 2011: "Two chickens have tested positive for avian influenza at a farm in Japan where more than 1,000 chickens have died, marking the country's first case of bird flu in three years, the Agricultural Ministry said on Sunday.…" (Nathan Layne, Reuters)
  • Yemen reports first case of deadly MERS-coronavirus: "Yemen reported its first case of the deadly MERS coronavirus on Sunday in a further spread of the deadly strain in the Middle East two years after its outbreak in neighboring Saudi Arabia..…" (Mohamed Ghobari, Reuters)
  • Lexicon Pharma's diabetes drug successful in mid-stage study: "Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental drug to treat diabetes met the main goal of reducing the use of insulin at meal times in a mid-stage study on patients with type 1 diabetes...…" (Vrinda Manocha, Reuters)
  • Depression risks increase for young dads: "Becoming a dad can be emotionally tough for any guy, but especially for young, first-time fathers. A new study (Pediatrics) finds that the first five years of parenthood — key attachment and bonding years for a child — may be the riskiest for young dads when it comes to developing depression...…" (Michelle Healy, USA Today)
  • Odd-Hour Workers Face Loss of Employer Health Plans: "Susan Caspersen was in a hospital in Akron, Ohio, last November recovering from an emergency appendectomy when she got some unwelcome news: as of Jan. 1, 2014, she would no longer be eligible for the health-insurance plan offered by her employer, food-service giant Sodexo USA.....…" (Lauren Weber, Wall Street Journal)

More Molecular Science in the News >

Breaking News


New Resources on

  • dbGaP: The database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) was developed to archive and distribute the results of studies that have investigated the interaction of genotype and phenotype.
  • Personal Genome Project UK: Personal Genome Project UK: Almost all current public data from PGP sites is from the Harvard site. As new sites grow we expect to share more data from around the world.
  • Harvard PGP Data: In addition to whole genome sequencing, the Harvard PGP has a variety of donated genetic data (ranging from externally-performed genomes and exomes to direct-to-consumer genotyping).
  • E-Bug: A place for children, teens, and adults to play games and learn about microbes.
  • 100K Food Pathogen Project: In the Genome Project for Food Pathogens project, FDA has partnered with U.C. Davis and Agilent to map the DNA of 100,000 pathogen strains to stop foodborne illness outbreaks faster.
  • Cellminer: CellMiner™ is a web application generated by the Genomics & Bioinformatics Group, LMP, CCR, NCI that facilitates systems biology through the retrieval and integration of the molecular and pharmacological data sets for the NCI-60 cell lines. The NCI-60, a panel of 60 diverse human cancer cell lines used by the Developmental Therapeutics Program of the U.S. National Cancer Institute to screen over 100,000 chemical compounds and natural products (since 1990)
  • BAM files: Index of /projects/nci60/wes/BAMS/
  • DTP Drug Screen: The In Vitro Cell Line Screening Project (IVCLSP) is a dedicated service providing direct support to the DTP anticancer drug discovery program.
  • DTP Molecular Targets: Thousands of molecular targets have been measured in the NCI panel of 60 human tumor cell lines. Measurements include protein levels, RNA measurements, mutation status and enzyme activity levels. You can choose to search for a target of interest, or you may browse through a list of targets. Follow the links for a target to retrieve the 60 cell line data (either text or graphical), to run COMPARE (find Targets or Compounds whose patterns correlate with a Target of interest) and to link to various databases with information (function, sequences, disease associations) about the target
  • Influenza Primer Design Resource: A program from Medical College of Wisconsin designed to aid researchers in translating the vast amounts of influenza sequence information into highly effective influenza diagnostics. IPDR consists of a database of all influenza nucleotide sequences and variety of bioinformatic analyses that aid in the development of primers and probes that can be used in diagnostic assays

Other Purdue News and Websites

    Bindley Bioscience Center
    Bindley Bioscience Center Organization

  • News: Bindley II exterior to be completed Fall 2013
  • Bindley Biosciences Center (BBC): The Bindley Bioscience Center provides a unique infrastructure to support interdisciplinary research. Laboratory space and high-end equipment is shared and available to support diverse projects ranging from cancer and other complex diseases to technology development and to creation of new feedstocks and catalysts for biofuels production. An expert staff provides research consultation and technical support to enable rapid and effective technology implementation, feasibility studies, and creation of pilot data in support of new project ideas. Research core support services operate in conjunction with original research projects as illustrated in the schematic to the left. See Flyer for more information about the facility
  • Bindley Bioscience Center New Strategic Plan